Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will face the one team he’s never beaten in his career come the 2021 season.
Brady and the Bucs will play at his old digs in New England next season against the Patriots where the 43-year-old quarterback played 20 seasons. The Bucs released its 2021 opponents recently according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times via Twitter.
#GoBucs 2021 opponents: away ATL, NO, CAR, NE, NYJ, PHI, WASH, ARIZ or LAR. Home vs ATL, NO, CAR, DAL, BUF, MIA, NYG, CHI.
Yes, Tom Brady returns to New England and Gillette Stadium.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 28, 2020
The dates for the games will come later in the spring. Brady left the Patriots in March 2020 as a free agent to join the Bucs. A trip to Foxboro will mark his first time going up against the Patriots and longtime head coach Bill Belichick.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski could also make his return to New England if he plays for the Bucs in 2021. Gronkowski came out of retirement and joined the Bucs via a trade with the Patriots in April 2020. He has one year left on his contract that carried over from the Patriots per CBS Sports’ John Breech. Gronkowski said he hasn’t decided on playing in 2021 according to Marcus Kwesi O’Mard of NESN.
Brady on the Patriots
Brady remained relatively mum on his former team so far this season, including when the Patriots failed to make the playoffs.
“As far as the Patriots go, they have their own thing going and I’ve really been focused on how my play needs to be at quarterback, the execution I need,” Brady said per Heavy.com. “They’re not really an opponent of mine. Obviously, I have a lot of friends there, a lot of great relationships, but they’ve been focused on what they need to do, and I’ve been trying to focus on what my job is.”
Brady spoke with more candor on the New England weather, however, as he gushed about the warm Tampa weather in December. His openness about weather got the attention of fans in his old home per WEEI on Twitter.
Tom Brady: “You won't catch me dead living in the Northeast anymore.”pic.twitter.com/VKboHhdU3n
— WEEI (@WEEI) December 11, 2020
Brady may have to at least visit the Northeast in winter again, however, depending on where the Patriots fall on the Bucs schedule.
Bucs 2021 Sneak Peak
Tampa will also face Brady and Gronk’s old AFC East foes, too, which includes division frontrunners Buffalo and Miami coming to Tampa.
The Bucs also drew a couple of notable rematches of 2020 non-division opponents for the 2021 slate. Chicago edged the Bucs in primetime games this season, and the Bucs will see a New York Giants team that nearly pulled an upset on Monday Night Football earlier this fall.
Tampa also plays all of the NFC East teams next fall, all of which have losing records this season. One 2021 matchup that remains to be determined comes down to how the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals finish. The NFC West rivals face each other in Week 17.
The Rams would make for a rematch of a tight Monday Night Football loss for the Bucs in November. The Cardinals would give Bucs head coach Bruce Arians the chance to face his old team, where he last coached in 2017.